Several days ago I visited a beautiful old church in Amsterdam that was built in the 15th century. It was stunning, very ornate, built in the Old-Gothic style of architecture, complete with a nave, spires, stained glass windows, and a large pulpit. It began as a Catholic cathedral, then changed into a Protestant church during the Reformation. And, now it has literally become a museum where worship is no longer allowed and Islamic art is on display. I was deeply saddened when I walked in and had to pay, not to see the church, but to walk through what is now a museum. In another part of Amsterdam another beautiful and ornate church sits near one of the many canals that wind its way through the city. Sadly, this church is no longer a place of worship, but has become a marketplace. I wonder if Jesus would have the same response today as He did when He walked into the Jewish Temple nearly 2,000 years ago. Enraged, Jesus overturned tables and drove out all of the moneychangers that had made a market out of the house of God as described in all four Gospel accounts.
As I observed these things about the Netherlands, my heart was troubled and I asked myself if this could someday be America. One hundred years from now will today's mega-churches become tomorrow's grand museums and marketplaces? Will America, like Holland, once a light to the nations, become a candle with it's flame snuffed out? I hope and pray that there will someday be a Second Great Awakening in Europe. A time when Europe will awaken from its religious slumber and once again become a place of religious fervor and renewal. At the same time, I also hope and pray that America will not follow in Europe's footsteps where religious expression will be stifled and nobody cares about religion no more. I hope and pray churches and para-church mission organizations will begin to readjust their target window and include Europe in the category of unreached nations before religion truly becomes extinct.
Please pray for the people of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe, including our mission field in Albania.
* - Religion May Become Extinct in Nine Nations